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Irish U21s gutted after loss to Scots


Luke Witherow
Luke Witherow

By John Flack

Ireland's Under-21 men have missed out on promotion back to the top-flight of the European Championship after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Scotland in yesterday's semi-final in the Czech Republic.

Having beaten the Scots four times in the build-up, the Irish young guns were confident of making it five and securing the top-two finish they needed.

But it wasn't to be as Hamish Roberts' early goal proved decisive and Ireland now prepare for the relative anti-climax of playing Turkey for third place today.

Vice-captain Luke Witherow, one of seven Ulster players in the squad, couldn't hide his disappointment at the outcome.

The Banbridge forward said: "It was a very hard pill to swallow but we knew they would come out at 100mph and we didn't weather that storm properly and conceded a soft goal."

"After that we took two cards but played well and dominated the game even when we were down to 10 men.

"Our second half was better and we completely dominated it but couldn't create chances as Scotland sat deep and broke down play a lot to protect their lead.

"That worked for them as we couldn't create any flowing attacking moves to slice through them as we did in the previous wins over them.

"It was a very disappointing day for us and we are determined to finish on a high and will do everything we can to make sure we lift ourselves to beat Turkey and win the bronze medals."

Men's European U21 semi-finals (Litice): Ireland 0 Scotland 1; Today: 3rd-4th place play-off: Ireland v Turkey (12.45pm)

Women's European U21 Championship (Valencia): Tomorrow: 7th-8th place play-off: Ireland v France or Belarus (8.00am);

Youth Six Nations (Eindhoven): Boys: Ireland U18 1 (J Lynch) Belgium 3; Ireland U16 1 (C Mackay) Belgium 2 U16; Girls: Ireland U18 1 (S Cole) Belgium 3; Ireland U16 1 (Z Watterson) Belgium 2.

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